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Late Palaeozoic hydrocarbon migration through the Clair field, West of Shetland, UK Atlantic margin

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  • Chemistry

Abstract

Geochemical analysis of bitumen- and hydrocarbon-bearing fluid inclusions from the Devonian-Carboniferous Clair field indicates that the reservoirs contain a mixture of oils from different marine and lacustrine sources. Reconstruction of the Clair field oil-charge history using fluid inclusion petrography show that oil-charging occurred at times of K-feldspar, quartz and calcite cementation. Temperature–composition–time data yielded from the integration of fluid inclusion microthermometry with high-resolution Ar–Ar dating, date hydrocarbon-bearing K-feldspar overgrowths at 247 ± 3.3 Ma. These data show that in order for oil to be trapped within primary fluid inclusions in K-feldspar overgrowths, hydrocarbon migration throughout the UK Atlantic margin must have been taking place during the Late Palaeozoic and as such, current industry oil-play models based solely on oil charging from Jurassic-Cretaceous marine sources are clearly incomplete and need revision. Apatite fission track analysis and vitrinite reflectance data were used to reconstruct thermal burial histories and assess potential oil generation from Middle Devonian lacustrine source rocks. Thermal history data from wells along The Rona Ridge adjacent to the Clair field show that the Palaeozoic section was heated to greater than 100 °C at some time between 270 and 230 Ma, confirming that Devonian source rocks were mature and expelling oil during the Late Palaeozoic at the time that authigenic K-feldspar overgrowths were growing in the Clair field.

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